28 January, 2010

Sumerian Myth

Photo Compliments: http://schools-wikipedia.org/images/626/62624.png

Hey everyone,

I've seem to have gotten a relieve from my busy schedule and have just been lying in bed for the morning (with the flu) so I decided to read up on more Sumerian Literature. Something that I was really drawn to was their mythology.

Many of Sumerian Writings in themselves have only been discovered through archeology. However, a lot of Sumerian work have been adopted by the Babylonians and Akkadians and were spread by them throughout the middle east.

One tablet that was recovered was that which held the creation story. It is the earliest account of the Sumerian Creation Myth. It is written in Sumerian Language but is dated back to 18th century B.C, the age of the first dynasty of Babylon.

Sumerian Creation Story
In summary, the gods An, Enlil, Enki and Ninhursanga create the Sumerians (the "black-headed people") and the animals. Then kingship descends from heaven and the first cities are founded: Eridu, Bad-tibira, Larsa, Sippar, and Shuruppak.

After a missing section in the tablet, we learn that the gods have decided to send a flood to destroy humankind. Zi-ud-sura, the king and gudug priest, learns of this. (In the later Akkadian version, Ea, or Enki in Sumerian, the god of the waters, warns the hero (Atra-hasis in this case) and gives him instructions for the ark. This is missing in the Sumerian fragment, but a mention of Enki taking counsel with himself suggests that this is Enki's role in the Sumerian version as well.)

When the tablet resumes it is describing the flood. A terrible storm rocks the huge boat for seven days and seven nights, then Utu (the Sun god) appears and Zi-ud-sura creates an opening in the boat, prostrates himself, and sacrifices oxen and sheep.

After another break the text resumes, the flood is apparently over, the animals disembark and Zi-ud-sura prostrates himself before An (sky-god) and Enlil (chief of the gods), who give him eternal life and take him to dwell in Dilmun for "preserving the animals and the seed of mankind". The remainder of the poem is lost.
(Adapted from wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerian_creation_myth)

A translation of the discovered tablet can be found here. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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